Home cricket Manoj Tiwary among 39-member Bengal probables

Manoj Tiwary among 39-member Bengal probables

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Manoj Tiwary, West Bengal’s Minister for State for Affairs of Sports and Youth, has been included among the 39-member Bengal probables for the upcoming cricket season. Tiwary has confirmed his availability to the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) for all three formats – Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy (50 overs) and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (T20). The fitness camp will commence from July 23.

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“As far as playing is concerned, I have passion, I enjoy the game and I have a lot to contribute to Bengal cricket. This is the reason why I’m continuing to play cricket. Whatever I’m today is because of my cricket,” Tiwary told The Indian Express.

Contesting for Trinamool Congress (TMC), Tiwary, 35, won from the Shibpur constituency in Howrah in the last Bengal Assembly elections.

The former Bengal captain, who has 12 ODIs, three T20Is and 125 first-class matches under his belt, claimed he has Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s blessings. “I never thought about quitting cricket and I discussed it with our Chief Minister. She told me, ‘No problem, khel na (keep playing)’. This is my profession and passion, which is the reason I didn’t announce my retirement,” he told this paper.

After the Covid-forced cancellation last term, the Ranji Trophy will be back this season, while the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy are on the roster as well. Putting cricket alongside politics might cramp Tiwary for time. But he has his backup plans ready. “I have built a core team that will do the job in my absence at my constituency. That team is ready and I can trust them. I will be available on phone and will monitor everything, and I’m very confident that I will be able to shoulder the dual responsibility,” said the senior batsman.

A sitting minister walking into the dressing-room might give the whole atmosphere a different feel. Tiwary allayed the concern. “When I step into the dressing-room I will make sure that I’m meeting with them (colleagues) as a senior player, as a brother and a team mate.”

The current Union Minister of Sports, Youth Affairs and Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur played first-class cricket before coming into active politics. Kirti Azad, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Laxmi Ratan Shukla and Tejashwi Yadav, too, hung up their cricket boots before joining politics.

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